Todd Wilkens

Todd Wilkens

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Todd Wilkens is the design researcher for Adaptive Path. Thanks to over a decade of experience in research and design he holds a passionate belief that focusing on and truly understanding people allows us to create products and services that provide compelling experiences and real value. Todd's work has focused on everything from online communities to digital video to youth, religion, and culture. He is adept at working with people from different backgrounds to synthesize product, business, technology, and user needs into cohesive strategies and designs. He is also well-versed in social science theory and a wide-ranging toolkit of methods from ethnography and interviewing to statistical analysis and eye-tracking. He publishes and speaks regularly on design research and human-centered design generally. He also teaches courses and workshops in design research, interaction design, information architecture, and sociology at at professional events as well as at several universities and colleges.

Areas of Expertise:

  • design and user research
  • user experience
  • product strategy
  • ethnography and contextual research
  • speaking
  • training



“If you need to convince yourself that experience design is where we should—and can—be, get this book. If you need to convince colleagues and managers, get the book, read it, and pass it on.”
— Janice (Ginny) Redish, Technical Communication, Volume 56, Number 4, November 2009
“...a must for anyone who wants a solid and agile business under their command.”
— James A. Cox, The Midwest Book Review - Wisconsin Bookwatch
Subject to Change presents an excellent strategic overview of new product development practices for those media and physical interaction products based upon the consulting practice of Adaptive Path. ”
— Ira Laefsky,
Subject to Change is a good book to read if you're into product development or design. If you're staying abreast of the industry trends, most of it is probably not going to be big news to you, nevertheless, it's a good collection of case studies and a summary of rules relevant for modern-day product development.”
— Alex Moskalyuk,
Subject to Change is required reading for anyone looking to gain a competitive edge in a feature-saturated market...If you can design a better user experience than your competitor, you don’t always need vast resources to outsell them. Subject to Change can help you come up with ideas to make that happen. ”
— David Thomas, CustomRetailer
“...consider the book as a ground floor investment on how to innovate in the new world of globalization - this book is about finding that customer niche that you can best fulfill. ”
— Jacques Surveyor, The Open Sourcery
“Almost every page, it seems, has an example of a well-known product or company that has either been wildly successful, or should have been as it ticked all the right boxes on paper, yet somehow still failed in the marketplace. The authors’ explorations into why these products failed are illuminating, as in fact is the rest of the book.”
— Matt Stephens, Software Reality
“Authors Peter Merholz, Todd Wilkens, Brandon Schauer and David Verba, have done an outstanding job of writing a book that guides organizations large, medium and small through the process of developing the organization's skills and strategies that are essential in successful environments that are constantly changing...By the time you've experimented with the business process techniques contained in this most excellent book, you'll have journeyed well beyond your peers. But, more importantly, you'll be able to assess how well you're set up to successfully deliver products in the future.”
— John Vacca,
“The title Subject To Change: Creating Great Products & Services for an Uncertain World is an excellent guide to user centered design as not just a set of principles for making better software but as clear path to thinking of providing services to end users that they are actually wanting and needing...if you have any intentions of starting a business or are already a business owner you should read this book.”
— Jeffrey Dalton, User Experience Designer
Subject to Change is short, concise, and very well-written. It offers up insights on how companies can be more flexible to meet market changes by working in new ways for solid customer research, product design, and agile approaches, among other things. ”
— Jim Holmes, FrazzledDad
“Subject To Change guides us through this new environment from a user experience perspective, making a compelling overall case for experience design. And it does so with a sense of urgency: experience design and experience strategy aren’t things you should slowly start getting into. They are crucial to your business. You need to fundamentally transform your relationship with your customers and how you create products. Now. ”
— James Kalbach, Experiencing Information
“With its explanation of the importance of customer research (and customer focus), experience design and agile development as keys to success in today's shifting world, the book constitutes a must-read for leaders and all those directly or indirectly involved with product and service development today.”
— Manny Hernandez, Blogcritics Magazine
“This book outlines how businesses need to change to truly provide products and services that delight, inspire, and serve the needs of their customers. Unlike many other business books, it's not filled with thinly-veiled platitudes...Subject to Change is an honest accounting of the mercurial world of product and services, and how companies can structure their businesses to develop and deliver truly great experiences for the long haul.”
— E. Rutter,
Subject To Change is one of those books that mark the end of an era of thinking, and challenges companies to rethink their role in the market place. Intelligently written, incredibly easy to understand, and making a lot of sense, it actually puts to word a lot of what I have been seeing in the business world over the last five years...The principles that are outlined in Subject To Change lay down a clear path for the future, and for companies willing to travel down this new highway the rewards will be great. I highly recommend Subject To Change as a road map to the future. ”
— T. Michael Testi, Blogcritics Magazine
“Customers don’t care about how innovative you are. They just want to be happy and satisfied. Learn from Adaptive Path a passion for finding and solving the problems that will matter to customers no matter what the future brings”
— Scott Berkun, Author, The Myths of Innovation
“Subject to Change presents complex, challenging ideas in simple, compelling language, with illuminating examples and no shortage of memorable phrases. At once authoritative and nimble, the book itself is an example of the kind of experience the authors admire. No matter who you are, it will change the way you think about design.”
— Michael Bierut, Partner, Pentagram and Author, 79 Short Essays on Design
“The principles set out in Subject to Change are essential for the design of any product, but especially relevant for the fast-moving world of web software. It used to be the case that a software product was designed once, and refreshed every couple of years. Software is no longer a product. It is a process, a dynamic service that evolves as it responds to constant interaction with its users. The essence of Web 2.0 design is to create a dynamic framework that harnesses the collective intelligence of customers in such a way that the software becomes almost alive. This terrific book teaches the mindset required for this new kind of design.”
— Tim O'Reilly
“This book will make you think. Hard. And that’s a good thing. Because you may not be able to outspend or outwork the competition, but you can certainly outthink them. Today, that’s just about all that matters.”
— Seth Godin, Author, Meatball Sundae